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Senior Capstone 2021

A Historical Analysis of Inequality in For-Profit Athletics

Abstract: This paper proposes a more accurate theoretical model to determine player worth – The True Player Value Model, taking into account factors alongside the simple salary cap number utilized by teams, such as endorsement dollars, attendance with and without a given player, merchandise revenue and team success among many more. This discussion analyzes the historic undervaluing of players within professional leagues in the context of advocacy power from Muhammad Ali to Michael Jordan and to Colin Kaepernick. The evaluation presented attempts to illustrate the muzzling of professional athletes’ social voices and how the mindset of players has changed over time despite being undervalued in similar ways. The paper concludes with a discussion of the True Player Value Model and its alignment to the negotiating interest of existing Player Associations or Unions fighting for pay increases and the right to use their own platforms how they see fit.

Thomas Herron is a fourth-year student at Northeastern University, majoring in both journalism and economics, with a minor in sports, media, and communication. His interests are in sports and sports media, social justice and the intersection of economics and sports. His immediate plans are to graduate in June 2021 and secure a role in the greater sports industry, whether that be in media or for related